Dutch Speculaas Cookies (Windmill Cookies)

Dutch speculaas cookies are traditional spiced windmill cookies with almonds served on St. Nicholas Day in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Dutch Speculaas Cookies (Windmill Cookies)

Dutch Speculaas Cookies

By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

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Windmill cookies (Dutch Speculaas) have been a favorite cookie of mine since I was a little girl, and a generation later, they became a favorite of my daughter.

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Dutch Speculaas Cookies (Windmill Cookies)

Traditionally, these Dutch cookies are made for St. Nicholas Day and holiday celebrations. We often see them as molded windmill cookies with sliced almonds, but the molds can be quite elaborate, just as gingerbread molds often are. And there are so many kinds of molds, both new and old, or in simplest terms, these can be easily rolled and cut with cookie cutters.

For this year’s Christmas Cookie Week (and also for the International Cookie Exchange today), I wanted these to be a part, that perhaps they can also become a tradition in your home.

Those who know me know that I like to collect vintage kitchen tools and gadgets. Among them I have some antique cookie molds. I did use one for demonstration here, but the ones I have are quite large- the windmill mold is much bigger than the usual cookies. And I have gingerbread molds that are HUGE! But unless I am giving those singly as gifts, don’t mess with them much.

Cookies in a shortbread pan or cut out are much easier to manage in a cookie jar. I have added tips for those, as well as those brown bag molds which I have had for years and years. I’m not sure how easy to find tips on using those is, but I think you can still buy them. As for the wooden ones, just keep your eyes peeled at antique shops. They turn up now and again.

Dutch Speculaas Cookies (Windmill Cookies)

You could also use a springerle rolling pin on this- just keep the dough about 3/8″ thick on that. I  also have various cookie stamps that can be used the same way- except those are usually cut out round or square (according to the stamp shape) and then pressed into the dough to give its shape.

The almonds on these are what I am used to. They are optional, as the cookies will be just fine without. It all depends on if you like nuts in your cookies (I do). And while the amount of spice seems a lot, it is not that heavy. Commercial cookies often use way more, so if you like it heavier, add more (taste the dough and see).

Not much else to say on these, but if you have questions, just “ring me on the blog-phone” (add a comment) or write me at contact@palatablepastime.com and that goes right through to my mail.

I have cookies going up all week as part of the cookie event. Tomorrow I am sharing Salted Caramel Oatmeal cookies, followed by Cranberry Christmas Balls, Candied Ginger Shortbread and Black Forest Brownies on the other days. Join  me each day!

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Dutch Speculaas Cookies (Windmill Cookies)
Dutch Speculaas Cookies (Windmill Cookies)

Dutch Speculaas Cookies

Dutch Speculaas Cookies (Windmill Cookies)

Sue Lau
No ratings yet
Total Time 2 hours
Course Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine Dutch
Servings 28
Calories 170 kcal


  • 9x9 inch nonstick shortbread pan
  • waxed paper


  • 7 ounces butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons speculaas spice mix click on link for recipe or use purchased
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds


Method (using shortbread pan):

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In an electric mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time, allowing each to mix in, then add the extracts and molasses.
  • Sift together the salt, baking powder, speculaas spice mix, and flour.
  • Add flour mix to the mixer on low, beating in until you have a smooth dough.
  • Press 1/3 of the dough mix (about 3/8" thick)  into a heavily sprayed shortbread pan. Make sure you use nonstick oil spray (such as Pam) and not the baking spray that contains both oil and flour (Baker's Joy).
  • Press it out using a piece of waxed paper so it doesn't stick to your fingers, and smooth it using a small roller (I used a cannoli form).
  • Sprinkle the dough with sliced almonds and press down lightly so they stick.
  • Refrigerate the dough in the mold for about 15 minutes.
  • Bake in the pan for thirty minutes or until lightly brown at the edges.
  • Cool in pan ten minutes, run a small knife around the edge then turn out onto a cutting board, tapping lightly if needed to free the cookies.
  • Cut the cookies with a sharp knife along the lines while they are still warm.

Method: (using wooden molds)

  • Bake as above, except, chill the dough before putting in the mold.
  • Brush the mold with powdered sugar instead of using nonstick spray.
  • Gently remove the cookie from the mold before baking.
  • Chill the cookies on the baking pan for 15 minutes before baking.
  • Bake only till lightly brown at the edges and feel firm. Time may vary with the size of the molds.
  • Cool the cookies on the pan for ten minutes, then finish cooling on a wire rack.

Brown Bag molds (stoneware molds):

  • Bake as you would with the wooden molds, except instead of dusting  with powdered sugar, spray the molds with Baker's Release spray (like Baker's Joy)  and the dough should come out of those readily.
  • Note: The dough can also be rolled out 3/8" thick and cut with cookie cutters.


From the kitchen of palatablepastime.com


Serving: 1gCalories: 170kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 3gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 112mgPotassium: 63mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 204IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 32mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Christmas Cookies Week 2017

Christmas Cookies Week

Join us each day this week for delicious cookie recipes!

Dutch Speculaas Cookies (Windmill Cookies)


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12 responses

  1. These are so pretty! I love almond and orange, a perfect holiday cookie combination. Thanks for joining Christmas Cookies Week.

  2. Perfect for Nikolaustag! We picked up a windmill mold while in Amsterdam last year and have enjoyed putting it to use. I have that snowflake shortbread pan on my wishlist and this makes me want it even more. I also love your layer of almonds.

  3. I have never heard of or seen these before. I love when I see a post with something that is totally new to me! They look absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing these

  4. I have a question about this. The link to the spice mix says it yields 2 teaspoons of spice mix. Your recipe here calls for 2 TABLESPOONS of spice mix. I just wanted to make sure that is accurate. Thank you!

    • It’s accurate. My spice mix is used in multiple recipes, and not all of them at the same amount. For the cookies here, you would mix up three orders of spice mix- just measure it out three times, as three x 2tsp= 2 tbsp. Sometimes with spices I will make the recipe for a lot more, but with this particular spice, I keep it as small as I can since I doubt some people would end up using all of it before time to switch out old spices in their spice cabinet.

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